Americans spend a lot of time in their cars. Just like home selling, driving culture varies from state to state, but U.S. motorists take immense pride in their driving abilities. Everyone thinks they’re a better driver than motorists in neighboring cities and states.
Are some drivers really better than others? A new study from Clever Move found the 10 cities with the worst drivers based on traffic fatalities, alcohol-related driving deaths, collisions, and more.
1. Jacksonville, Florida
The first of three Florida cities on this list, Jacksonville has the worst drivers in the U.S. The city records the highest number of alcohol-related driving deaths, with 2.9 per 100,000 residents annually.
A complicated convergence of interstate systems means out-of-state travelers and local commuters share the same stretches of highway. That, along with Florida’s 40 to 60 inches of rainfall each year, make for frequent treacherous road conditions.
2. Louisville, Kentucky
Three major interstate systems pass through Louisville, and trucking and shipping are a growing part of the city’s economy. Accidents with large vehicles are more likely to result in injuries and fatalities. In fact, Louisville drivers file insurance claims every nine years, compared to the national average of 11 years, according to Allstate. Louisville also records the third-highest number of annual drunk driving deaths, with 2.5 per 100,000 residents.
3. Orlando, Florida
Orlando is known for its terrible traffic. The city's theme parks, resorts, and tourism industry attracted almost 60 million visitors in 2021, so it’s no wonder locals grow frustrated with out-of-towners who don’t know the roads. Motorists in Orlando experience 23 hard-braking events every 1,000 miles, compared to the average of 19, according to Allstate.
4. Tampa, Florida
The third and final Florida city on this list, Tampa has 10 driving fatalities per 100,000 residents — 51% more than the average city in our study (6.6). Additionally, about 1 in 5 Tampa drivers (20%) are uninsured, driving up the cost of traffic accidents.
The low cost of living in Tampa comes at the high price of hazardous driving conditions. For residents looking to leave Florida drivers in their rearview mirror, it costs about 11.5% of the final sale price to sell a home in the Sunshine State.
5. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville’s population is exploding, and it was the third-most popular moving destination in 2022, according to a study of moving trends. Maybe new Nashville drivers are in a hurry to get some of the nation’s best BBQ, but one of the best food cities in the U.S. is also among the worst for drivers. Nashville’s high percentage of uninsured drivers (24%) and distracted-driving collisions earn Music City a place on this list.
6. Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis ranks sixth on the overall list but first for annual driving deaths, with 13.3 per 100,000 residents annually. Passengers are legally allowed to consume alcohol in moving vehicles, increasing the risk of distracted-driving accidents. Tennessee Highway Patrol is also taking measures to educate the Memphis population on the dangers of reckless driving practices, such as speeding.
7. Riverside, California
Long considered an affordable alternative to the oceanside communities in Orange County, Riverside is the first California city included on this list. The city also ranks fourth among the worst cities for commuters because of high congestion and accidents on the large, high-speed freeways. Riverside has 9.4 driving fatalities per 100,000 residents annually — 41% more than the studied city average (6.6).
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is known for live music and bustling nightlife, but the old, narrow streets that give the city its charm are difficult to drive on. Inclement weather and frequent flooding also make conditions tricky for even the most skilled drivers. The potential for accidents on New Orleans' streets means drivers pay some of the highest car insurance premiums in the country at $4,087.
What's more, relaxed laws around alcohol come at a high cost. New Orleans has 37% more drunk driving deaths than the average city.
9. Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham has experienced a renaissance in the past few years, but it still remains a dangerous city for drivers. As a hot market for Alabama vacation rentals, Birmingham boasts an emerging nightlife scene that has drawn out-of-town visitors like never before.
Unfortunately, the lack of public transit means more cars on the road. Birmingham records 12.7 driving fatalities per 100,000 residents annually, the second-highest number on this list.
10. Sacramento, California
Sacramento drivers are experiencing traffic problems that emerge as their city grows. Drivers are filing claims every 7.5 years, which is 3.5 years sooner than the average city on this list.
With bad drivers and a cost of living that's 40% to 50% higher than the national average, many Sacramento residents are considering selling their homes and leaving the Golden State for good.